I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Make your own portable Backgammon board for the beach!

Can you remember the last time you played a game?

No, not Playstation, Wii, Tetrus, or Game Boy … I’m talking about something non-electronic.  I often wonder how we managed growing up without all of this electronic stimulation.

The game of Operation was technology at it’s best!  But oh, what a mess if we forgot to take the battery out after a long period of time!  That oozy, rusty battery could ruin the game forever!

How about Trouble?  Have your kids ever heard of it?  Are you even aware of the fact that it’s still in production?  It took a mastermind to create that magical “pop-o-matic” popper.  Close your eyes, just imagine … your hand caresses that smooth plastic dome … you push down and pop pop!  It’s a two-syllable sound.  Perhaps you hear it as a click-click.  I KNOW you can still hear it!  Your kids may never know that sound.  It’s a sin.

How about Mouse Trap?  I’m convinced it was someone’s Physics 101 project!  Fabulous!  Remember how they yelled “MOUSETRAP!” on the commercial?  One of my all time favorites was from Milton Bradley called Voice of the Mummy.  The board was ingenious; it was shaped like a pyramid.  Instruction was provided by a mummy who had a tiny record player built in!  There’s one on EBAY listed for $260.00!  Simply cutting edge.

Would we have ever believed the internet was in our future and that we could play a computer game with someone on the other side of the world? With technology right at our fingertips, it allows us to play without a partner.  No longer do we need to beg our brother or sister to play with us!  That wonderful sibling competitiveness has gone right out the window!  We no longer sit at the dining room table, as a family, playing a game.  Some families try “Game Night."  I applaud them for trying to bring everyone together, but isn’t it a shame that we have to schedule such play time?
I’d like to offer an alternative to the hand held electronic device when you’re at the beach.  You DO still go to the beach don’t you?  Perhaps you no longer slather yourself in baby oil, but please tell me you take the time to take your friends, kids or grand kids for a good old fashioned day at the beach! 

I’d like to re-introduce you to Backgammon!  You know, lots of triangles on the board, playing pieces, dice?  It’s a thinking game; simple math is all that’s needed.  This is the perfect project for the older child (or adult) who likes to draw, paint, color!  Make one to keep at your house for visiting grandchildren.  Make one to take when you visit the grandchildren at their house!  If younger children are involved, try Checkers instead.  Make one to take to the family picnic!

  • One canvas tarp (the smallest size you can find.  You’ll be able to get several boards out of one tarp.  They make wonderful gifts!)
  • Yardstick
  • Pencil
  • Several colors of fabric paint (or markers)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Ribbon (approx. 2 feet in length)
  • Shells and stones
  • Two dice and a cup for rolling them! 
Cut one 17” x 22” piece out of the tarp.  If you prefer, fold edges under  ½ “ and sew with a sewing machine.   Using your pencil and the yardstick, draw four 8” x 10” blocks (as shown), leaving a 2” stripe (the long way) and a 1” stripe (the short way).  Using the attached template, draw six triangles in each block (triangles are 8“ tall and 1 3/5“ wide.  Painting one side at a time and using two colors, paint every other triangle color A.  All other triangles should be color B.  When painting the second side, colors A and B should be opposite each other (see photo).  I chose to paint the stripe in the middle also.  You may decorate the outside edge if you wish.  Let the paint dry completely.  Stitch your piece of ribbon onto the backside of the board as shown.  This allows you to roll up and tie your board for easy transport.
For backgammon rules and other interesting facts, go to here.  If you’re giving this as a gift, print out a copy of the rules for the recipient.  If you need dice, go to here .  Have the kids hunt for proper shells and stones and you’re ready to play!
Great for traveling too. 
 Have fun!

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